Butler County Schools host Million Father March Day
The Million Father March started in Chicago in 2004, as a way to get dads involved in their kids’ education. It quickly grew to a nationwide movement, and now there are Million Father Marches in almost every state. And there’s one more participating school system in Alabama.
Butler County schools began planning for the Million Father March in 2015. Career Coach Otis Grayson heads the program. He and the other Butler County planners hope the Million Father March will change fathers’ perspectives on education.
“I found it was the perfect way to get the community, the fathers involved in what’s going on inside these four walls of the school building. Because it takes a community to educate a child,” Grayson said.
Greenville Elementary and W.O. Parmer Elementary held a Father Walk on Monday morning, asking dads to flood the halls to show support. Greenville Middle had a “Donuts for Dads” day, where dads were treated to donuts at the morning drop-off. Greenville High School was also in on the game, hosting dads for three lunch periods.
The best part of the Million Father March is that you don’t have to be a “dad” to participate.
“Just me sitting here talking to them, they understood that, ‘hey, this is somebody that [doesn’t] even know me, that’s asking questions about my future,'” said dad Lee Tanner. Tanner has a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. “Anyone can do that! Anyone. And it doesn’t have to be a father, grandfather, uncle, whatever. It could be somebody in the church, just somebody in the community.”
There were also a few of those community members at the high school, including a few pastors and State Representative Chris Sells. Sells has a teen daughter, but she doesn’t attend Greenville High. He just wanted to show the students there is always someone who cares about them.
“They can go to work, they can go in the military, they can get on some kind of government program, or they can go to jail,” Sells said. “And it’s so important that the parents are involved in their lives to guide them. Because, it’s not much between any one of those choices.”
Most schools participating in the Million Father March hope to decrease the dropout rate. Every school has a goal of graduating 100% of students, but that is an almost unattainable goal due to several factors. Grayson and the other Butler County staff know having a male role model around won’t drastically change those numbers, but they hope it will help a little.
This was the first year of the Million Father March for the school system, but Grayson is already planning next year’s activities.